“No one wanted to sit with me AGAIN.”
“Did you ask nicely, mom?” asked my son, in between mouthfuls of double chocolate chip cookie, “That always works for me.”
“Hmmmmppphhh,” said I as I gulped a cup of water.
“I’m done. Can I go now?” said my son as he downed his cup of milk.
Ask nicely? What did he think I was? Six, like him? Ethan was beginning to get cocky since he started school and having more friends than me.
My beginner’s luck had run out in those TWO minutes. As I looked at the classifieds again, I knew that I could not give up. While circling and calling real estate agents, I thought about my search for a friend. The friend which seemed almost as elusive as a job and rental.
The search for the new best friend had degenerated into a solicitation exercise. I really felt like a hooker, searching and soliciting every morning and afternoon. With my carefully picked outfit and Kindy kid in a stroller, I trawled the corridors and hallways. Initially I was selective, I smiled, I nodded, I said hello/good morning/how are you doing and I sought out eye contact with mums I liked but I had as much as luck as the last 13th daughter of the no male heir of the Sultan of Moo moo haw haw.
Unlike newbies to the trade, I did not receive much luck or attention other than the odd hello back. Now my standards were slipping a bit. I spoke to women who spoke too close, who looked at me with their one good eye, who spat at me at every vowel sound or who called me “Jean, Clara, Phyllis whatever” they fancy. I didn’t know how long more I would last.
I was desperate and a desperate woman will take very desperate measures.
I realized that being hungry and potentially homeless puts everything in perspective. A crummy home looked very good. An expired loaf of bread looked edible.
Anyone looked like a potential friend now.
There was only one place left.
As I brought Ethan to class, I looked at the huge green field dotted with trees and beautiful flowers where birds fluttered, butterflies danced and gay laughter floated. I watched little babies crawl, toddlers shrieking with laughter and women smiling and laughing as they sat on the ground.
THE PLAYGROUND – the most dangerous battlefield ever known to a mother.
Was I ready? I gulped.
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